Saturday, 4 February 2023

Bergson as a Dualist


In the introduction to ‘Matter and Memory’ Bergson states that his philosophy is dualist but having read his rejection of both Materialism and Idealism we are inclined to say ‘yes Henri, it’s dualism but not as we know it.  He starts from the common apprehension of a primal division between subject and object.  It’s perfectly natural and inevitable but the aporiai that it spawns sends him in a new direction.  Let’s take it that there is an interaction between a sensitive actor, the subject, and the world of sensible inputs. It is this interaction which is experienced as a plenum but not from the vantage point of a subject.  The natural tendency to place this experience in the subject is what the Advaitins call adhyasa or superimposition.  In Bergson’s panpsychist analysis memory pervades this interaction and lays it up never to be forgotten.  Now the perception which is a function of the superimposed subject has its images in a direct way in contrast to memory which is non-temporal but can insert its input.  This I think is the source of the notion of reality as the ‘aggregate of images’.  There is a pooling together from both sources.

I have previously mentioned  my intuition of the metaphor of mirror and images as being a source for his philosophy.  Metaphors instead of being merely an illustration of a point to be clarified can themselves be a higher realisation which hovers on the edge of the inexpressible.

More anon on that.

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